How to Build a Fire
Choose an open space, if possible, for your fire. Beware of having it
under tree branches, too near a tent, or in any other place that might
prove dangerous. Start your fire with the tinder nearest at hand, dry
leaves, ferns, twigs, cones, birch bark, or pine-knot slivers. As the
tinder begins to burn, add kindling-wood of larger size, always
remembering that the air must circulate under and upward through the
no fire can live without air any more than you can live
without breathing. Smother a person and he will die, smother a fire and
it will die.
Soft woods are best to use after lighting the tinder; they ignite easily
and burn quickly, such as pine, spruce, alder, birch, soft maple,
balsam-fir, and others. When the kindling is blazing put on still
heavier wood, until you have a good, steady fire. Hard wood is better
than soft when the fire is well going; it burns longer and can usually
be depended upon for a reliable fire, not sending out sparks or
sputtering, as do many of the soft woods, but burning well and giving a
fine bed of hot coals. The tree belonging exclusively to America, and
which is the best of the hardwoods, comes first on the hardwood list.
This is _hickory_. Pecan, chestnut-oak, black birch, basket-oaks, white
birch, maple, dogwood, beech, red and yellow birch, ash, and apple wood
when obtainable are excellent.